Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where Did All the Clouds Come From?

These past few days, I have been feeling what can only be described as 'emotionally delicate'. My equanimity of the past few weeks has abandoned me (I sincerely hope only temporarily) and I feel deflated, depressed and battered.
image: visulogik
Where did all of the clouds come from so quickly?

I suspect it started with my best friend's announcement of the birth of her first child last week. I am still thrilled for them, and am genuinely happy that she has a beautiful baby girl. I am also thrilled that I finished the quilt on time. But, - and there is always a but, isn't there? - I could not shake this feeling that she has embarked on a journey that so far, I cannot follow.

She is a mother. And I am not. And this hurts more than I want to admit to you and to myself. I have this profound sense of loss, as if I am re-experiencing my miscarriages all over again, whenever I think of it.

Why does this hurt and hurt so badly? Surprisingly, it is not the Green Envy Monster at all. It is just this deep seated ache, right behind my breastbone, dull and constantly throbbing just under the surface. There is also a little bit of shame mixed in, as if I feel like I have to explain why my body hasn't been able to do this one little thing so far. And the memories of all of the hopes that we had when I was pregnant for the first time. There is the crushing uncertainty of whether we will have that happy moment of carpet bombing our friends and family with pictures of what our love (and untold riches) created. They have all come rushing back - welling up into tears in my eyes and that familiar tweak in my nose just before I sneeze.

The result has been the usual depression - as if my body feels twice its normal weight and I'm being dragged down by gravity, but also copious amounts of tears shed over things that while sad are not really worthy of copious amounts of tears (case in point: I finished the biography of Marie Antoinette and was unconsolable at what she went through at the end). There is also the pressure, as if my head was in a vice, maybe from all of these feelings swirling around in there just trying to get out.

In short, I am a mess. I am a walking Cymbalta ad. I would like nothing better than lie in bed and stare at the wall, but, I don't. I have work to do, deadlines to meet, people to service. My mom is here and I can't bear the thought of ruining her visit with my depression.

I just can't seem to get past this myopia of each minute ticking past that I don't have a warm infant in my arms or a baby in my belly. And, right now, short of overdosing on kittens, I don't know how I'm going to get out of it. All I can see is what I don't have.

But, I will find a way. I always do. Most likely it will be a good cry and some careful sharing with Sweetie. I will also investigate whether my thyroid is somehow involved - my metabolism has been all over the place recently.

What do you, Dr. Reader, suggest I do to get out of this funk?

17 comments:

admin said...

I wish I had an answer. Like you, our good frineds also just gave birth to a beautiful girl. I withdrew from them months ago, not able to handle the pain of watching her belly grow as mine should have. They are eager for us to meet their new girl and I am terrified. It is not jealous, but complete sadness for what we should have right now. I have been pregnant nearly as long as my friend, in total, yet I stil have no child.

Even though I am 13 weeks pregnant, I still feel this way. I thought being pregnant and making it further than I ever had would help, but strangely, I am still shook regularly be the memories of who I was before I knew I was a habitual aborter, and everything I had to go through to get where I am now.

I wish I could tell you when or how to make it better. I am starting to think people like us will just carry this sadness. And some days will just be better than others. Hang in there. As usual, the rollcoaster continues.

DC said...

I vote for a stiff martini or a nice glass (or bottle) of red wine.

I'm so sorry you're down. My BFF is pregnant right now (after one month of trying) and it is K-I-L-L-I-N-G me. I want so badly to be happy for her. I really do. I'm just not. So I'll have another cocktail, thank you. ;)

Lori said...

(cue Cymb.alta music: Daaaaaaa-da-da daa-da-daaaaaah..."Where does depression hurt? Everywhere.")

Thanks. That'll be in my head until bedtime tonight.

But seriously. Yoga and volunteering. And a dog.

You are on the right track. Sometimes the speediest way through it is to give it no resistance. Just let it have its way with you and move on.

That's my experience, anyway.

XO, Mrs X.

beautycourage said...

My advice- don't fight it too much, know it will come in waves and probably pass, and if it doesn't in 2 weeks, then get some help. In the meantime- what works for me is eating well, sleeping as much as I can, spending time with older people or friends without kids, my dog, lots of wine, and planning vacations. But when it gets really heavy, I can't do anything but try to breathe.

JellyBelly said...

my biggest advice is to do something completely selfish.

in order to distract myself from my own best friend's amazing fertility i started practicing yoga obsessively (three or four times a week, 90 minutes a pop!), i learned how to kayak, trained for a dragon boat race, went to the spa and just lazed around. although i would love to be exhausted because jellybelly jr. was up through the night, i'm not. i can lie in bed reading a good book, i can do whatever i want at the drop of a hat.

distractions are a good thing.

big, big hugs to you.

Pepper said...

Usually I try some ice cream. Then maybe some wine. But after I've crashed from the sugar high and recovered from the hangover, the only thing that helps is a plan for how I'm going to make things better.

That little bugger known as "hope" is what gets me through the dark times. Hope that it won't always be this hard. Hope that there's something better around the corner. Hope that I will someday be blessed with that elusive thing I've always longed for.

Hugs to you. This is hard stuff, indeed.

loribeth said...

I agree with Lori & Beautycourage. Sometimes you just have to wallow in it awhile & let it take its course. Usually, after awhile, I find I start feeling ridiculous & snap out of it! I also agree with Jellybelly about being really good to yourself. Indulge in some chocolate, some retail therapy, some comfort food, whatever usually makes you feel better. And definitely get the thyroid checked too.

admin said...

I tagged you with a meme:
http://auterusdivided.blogspot.com/

Meredith

Elizabeth said...

Lots of wine. I've been there. I agree with the suggestion to indulge your feelings a little bit. I find that the harder I try to deny a feeling, the harder it is to suppress and move on. It's unreasonable to expect that even though you are making an effort to look forward and live your life that you won't have sad days. It's ok.

During these times, I try to indulge myself a little bit and try to find something to look forward to. And I go run on my treadmill lots.

It's hard, Mrs. X.

Portia P said...

I'm so sorry you're feeling so down.

When i've been in that place, sometimes i've just had to go with it until it passed. Ways i tried to shift it were - consuming much choc, ice cream and alcohol but that made me feel worse; exercise - had additional benefit of making me feel better about myself, seeing lots of my friends - but only the young free and single - or at least w/o children.

I hope it passes soon. NCLM

Katie said...

ViaNaComLeavMo...
No suggestions, only wanting to say that that is a beautiful photo. My only experience with depression is with my Mum and hers is a lifelong battle, I hope yours will be short lived as you hopefully get what you so want.

Deathstar said...

Have you ever tried reiki and massage? It will help to release that negative energy. And then just be. Grief is a continuum. It doesn't just end one day.

Shinejil said...

Oh, my dear Mrs. X! It makes me so sad to know you're in that shadowy valley. It's no surprise that even with the wisdom you've gained, you're going to have these dark days every once in a while.

What always helps me is going into the woods or fields or some place very beautiful. A nice garden even. Something about the plants and trees and soil really helps me get grounded.

And a thyroid check, with all the hormonal ups and downs you've been through, is not a bad idea at all. When I have hypo moments, I, too, become suddenly listless, lifeless, gloomy. My whole body slows down, gets cold, loses steam. My life gets drained of color.

And while I'm usually one to encourage alcohol consumption, I'm not sure if that's the best choice at the moment. If I'm depressed, it tends to make it worse--and unleashes the blue beast from its much needed emotional tethers. However, chocolate. Now that's something different altogether. Or trips to the spa/sauna/masseuse...

Sending loving warmth your way...

Rebeccah said...

I'm probably not the best one to give advice, as there's nothing I love more than wallowing in a nice dark depressive state. But I've come to realize over the years that I can halfway pop myself out of it if I distract myself enough. Which could mean movies with friends or shopping or cooking or going to the gym or going somewhere new with my husband or basically doing anything that gets me out of my head. Exercise usually works best for me, as it cleans out the toxins that are often the cause of my funk in the first place, plus if you do enough of it, you're too tired to be depressed ; ) But then sometimes, you feel bad because it's just time to feel bad or because there are damn good reasons for it, and then maybe the thing to do is honor it somehow.

peesticksandstones said...

I'm so sorry, Mrs X. This happens to me sometimes, too, and quite frankly I couldn't get over it without going on anti-depressants. But I have a history of struggling with depression -- infertility/miscarriage just made therapy, the usual coping mechanisms not good enough suddenly.

Someone mentioned volunteering, and that's a good one if you have the time/energy. I did that a lot for a while and it really helped me get out of my head. I've also been getting massages whenever I can swing it, treating myself to things that make me physically/emotionally feel cared-for and pampered, which I never really did before. Even yummy-smelling lotions, a comfy pair of shoes, replacing some stringy worn-out undies with ones that make me smile.

Here's hoping your break in the clouds comes soon. You always inspire me so much!

Queenie. . . said...

Unfortunately, the only way through it is through it.

My assvice is that while you are taking this year off, the question you really have to answer for yourself at this point is whether you really want to parent, or whether you want to have a baby. I see those as different questions. If you really want to parent, there are many options before you, as there are so many ways to create a family. Having a baby, on the other hand, seems to be somewhat more complicated for girls like us.

I'm hoping that either way, you soon find some peace for yourself.

PS I really love the foundations at the Louvre, too.

Ms Heathen said...

Weighing in slightly late to say that I'm sorry you're feeling so down. After everything that you've been through, it is only to be expected that you would find news of your best friend's baby difficult to bear.

I sometimes feel that my grief over IF comes in waves; there are times when it feels that nothing will ever assuage that sense of aching loss. As several others have already said, sometimes you simply have to sit with and through it, and know that it will eventually pass.

Take care of yourself, dear Mrs X. Start a new sewing project, have a long soak in the bath, or simply retire to bed with a novel.

I am thinking of you, and wishing you strength.